Peeking behind TV’s fourth wall

Peeking behind TV’s fourth wall 11/11/11

Hello, all you lovers of great and not so great sci fi, I’m back after a not so brief absence. This year I got to fulfill an incredible dream, to visit and report from the set of Warehouse 13 in Toronto. I was lucky enough to be commissioned for a series of video features by And I have so many wonderful stories to tell from that trip. The only complaint I have – and really I can’t complain because I made this happen – is that after visiting the beautiful sets of Franco de Cotiis I can’t ever quite look at the show again with my disbelief entirely suspended.

I was reminded of this on the way into work, running past one of the many screens in my building now showing new and classic CBS shows, including the original Star Trek series. The episode we’re currently screening is The Trouble with Tribbles. That scene where Captain Kirk sits down completely bewildered by the Tribbles bouncing out from the innards of the Enterprise is so much fun to watch. But after visiting the set of Warehouse 13, for the first time I watched it and thought ‘I wonder where the crew member was that was throwing Tribbles at Shatner, was he standing to the left or right?’ Of course this is a ridiculous question…he was perched on a ledge above…but seriously…why am I even thinking about that?

Um - who's throwing these things at me?

I’m thinking about it because the wonderful folks at SyFy gave me unprecedented access for a week to the set, crew and cast of Warehouse 13. I’ve hung out at the edge of the Umbilicus, dangling my feet over the edge while I look at Leena’s Bed and Breakfast and someone rolls past in between, carrying snacks for the crew. I’ve poked around in Artie’s office, which has to be my favorite set, and looked through the venetian blinds where a crew person’s ladder is standing on the outside. I’ve walked the aisles of the Warehouse…which really is an enormous set..and realized that it isn’t quite as infinite as it appears on TV.

I wouldn’t change a second of my trip to Toronto…I feel so incredibly lucky to have been given access to this world on my favorite SyFy show. And at the same time I think those who don’t get to go have a special gift too, they get to enjoy the stories of Myka and Pete with total suspension of disbelief. We’re both lucky really.

I’ll have more on my trip in the weeks to come, but for now here’s an outtake video from my trip, first published on…enjoy, follow me on Twitter @justinokelly_ and send me your questions about Warehouse 13!


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